Aromaleigh vs. Cream Make-up

by Friday, November 25, 2005
So let me start by saying that I have always loved my cream based makeups. No complaints. Except when I started getting adult acne breakouts (ARGH!), and wondered if my make-up was contributing. I changed brands, to no avail, and most lately it's been the MMU experiments (MMU=Mineral Make Up). So since I am on vacation today, and have nothing else I have to do, I decided to do one side of my face in my cream make-up, the other side with my Arromaleigh, and see what the sides look like compared to one another, same day, same face.

So here are the results:
Both sides: Oil of Olay moisturizer, Smashbox Photo Finish primer, Mac Eye paints eyshadow primer, Mac brow shadow
First: Smashbox cream foundation, Clinique translucent finishing powder, Maybelline blush, Cover girl eyeshadow
Second: Aromaleigh foundation, 'Luminous' blush, 'Illuminator' finishing powder, Aromaleigh eyeshadows
Cream make-upMMU

Honestly, I like both sides. And on close inspection, one doesn't look excessively more "made up" than the other, in my opinion. Chris kept saying "this side (the mmu side) looks more red". And I said he was right--my natural skintone shows through more on that side. But it doesn't look *RED*. It just looks more rosy than the cream make-up side. I also feel the MMU side appears a bit "warmer". But all-in-all...I wonder if the effect is worth all that... I don't think I look less made-up on the right, honestly, which is what I was going for. What do you think?

Also, RE the rub-off factor...I ran a tissue over my face on both sides. Cream side barely had anything rub off. MMU side had the rouge color rub off a bit. Not excessive, but surprisingly, the cream side left less rub-off on the tissue...

So what does this mean? Hrm...wonder if the MMU stuff is really so spectacular. I really like the finish, regardless. But I think largely, the Smashbox foundation has been my favorite foundation *because* it doesn't look too bland/washed out on me. It has a soft look to it, and doesn't accent my pores. Now the question is, will the MMU decrease my breakouts over time? We'll see...

I will continue to report!

Aromaleigh Day 2

by Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Day 2, and just getting ready to run out the door to take my family-in-laws to the airport for their Turkey Day in SoCal. Here are the quick n' dirty pics.

LEFT: just foundation
RIGHT: full meal deal

Foundation went on fine, but I am noticing a lot of dry, flaky patches on my skin. This is mainly due to the acne cleansing routine, but the minerals seem to accent it a bit. Cream based foundations tend to..well..moisturize a little. They have moisture in them, so it not only avoids accenting dryness, but tends to alleviate it more. I wonder what longterm use of minerals will do for the dryness factor. It was so bad on my "first run" this morning, I washed it off, put on the heavier moisturizer again, and started over. Still there are some dry patches, but likely mostly noticable to me and/or up close.

So, regarding the right "full meal deal":
Put on the raisin lipstick again, this time with liner first and without Lip Injection, to make sure I get a sense of wear, feel, lasting power without any other ingredients. Like the color a bit better without the Injection, as well. It is pretty intense color, needing only a tiny bit to get results, and adding the Injection boosted the pink tones more than I would have liked. So far it feels good. Non-drying, but fairly matte.

In the right hand photo, I added a tinge of warmth-like powder from the Ebay vendor, to darker up a smidge. Just nice to hit the sun-kissed points of the face with it. Still like the BE Warmth better, and hope to find a comparable color in Aromaleigh if this works out.

Still don't like zinfandel. It's like I am not wearing it at all.

I love the Brocade as a base and brow highlighter. I noticed in the sunlight today that the perle is fer realz. It is somewhat gossamer--that pearlized tone that many make-ups are implementing these days. It is very subtle and lovely. I dig.

Oh I forgot to mention that Aromaleigh does not claim the SPF 15 that most other brands do. If you look it up on their website, you will find that they have not had the $ to do lab studies to back up such an assertion, but that their ingredients are much the same as other companies who do claim SPF 15. So I wonder if it DOES have it, but they just can't legally say it at this point. I would like to know for sure, as it would affect the moisturizer I would use under it (SPF or not).

Anyway, gotta go pick up the fam. Will let you know how it wears. Last night at the video night it survived the hot tub and several hours of video watching in a warm studio with no signs of creasing or fading. I wonder what a whole day will reveal...

Aromaleigh Day 1

by Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Okay so I JUST got my Aromaleigh, as I was walking out the door to go to Renee's for hot tubbing before troupe video night. ARGH! So of COURSE I had to try it on!

For reference:

I got:
Glissade foundation in 2W and 2N
Illuminator finishing powder
Illuminating perle powder in Luminous
Pure Hue eye color in Zinfandel and Brocade

I also got free samples of Natural Frost in Raisin, and Pure Lips Minerals Lipstick in Grenadine

I also got an applicator sponge they recommend, since I returned my Bare Minerals kit with the brushes, and the only kabuki brush is my big-ass Smashbox brush, which is really dense and the powder tends to stay on the surface.

Details about what I did, and pictures, after the cut:

I did an initial pass with the sponge with the 2N, on top of my usual Smashbox Photo Finish, but immediately saw dried areas coming through. I have just started a new acne wash regimen, and it is drying my skin a bit in places. So I washed it off, and started again with a richer moisturizer underneath, then the Smashbox, then the foundation applied with my kabuki brush (it just *feels* better with a brush!). I immediately saw more coverage, and more creamy "weight" to this make-up over the Ebay brand. It was more buildable, and despite still being less natually glowy than BE, it was less powdery feeling and looking than the Ebay stuff. Then I did the blemish covering with my new little applicator brush I got at Sephora in a new brush kit I bought. Went on great. I could not get this coverage from the Ebay stuff. This was *much* more like BE, in feel and application.

Then I followed with the Luminous Perle powder in a blush-meets-bronzer application. I put it a little heavier on my cheeks, then brushed the excess from the brush around the edge of my face in a wide arc. And a dash across the tip of my nose, but by that time there was negligable traces in the brush and I didn't want to reload for my nose! I was cautious on this first application, as it does have the mica in it--hence the Luminous part. And I didn't want to look glittery, in case it had high sheen factor. In retrospect, I definitely could have gone heavier, and might even try a slightly darker sample next time to get more "warmth".

I then followed with the Illuminator finishing powder. This is sold specifically to put the sheen back in that taking the bismuth oxchloride out removed. I found it to be too pale. I saw when I ordered initially that they used to have several different shades of this, for different skin tones. Then they went to "translucent". But I found it wasn't entirely translucent, and lightened me up more than I would have liked. It did add a very *very* subtle glow to my face, without making me look shiney or sparkly. So it works in that regard.

Then I decided to have a little fun with the eyes, since I had a few colors, including the one sample, that would go together. So I put the brocade on as a base (nice!), then zinfandel on the lid up to above the crease, then the raisin in the crease.

I found the zinfandel to be far too transparent for something that looks so wicked on the ordering screen. I would not purchase it. But the Brocade and surprise bonus Raisin are definitely great for me, went on well.

Lastly I tried the lipstick. It is a bit brighter red in color than I normally wear, but richly toned! I like it actually, and could see it at a club or Christmas party. I topped it with my new Lip Venom, but had forgotten to put on lipliner. Oops. So in the pic you will see the gloss making the color bleed. I went back in after the shot and lined the edges and it looks good. I don't think I would buy this color, though. I wouldn't wear it enough to make it worthwhile.

So now is the lasting test. I will let you know how it feels and wears over time. I will see tonight if it gets patchy or starts to enhance wrinkles or pores. Mineral make-ups tend to "melt" into your skin over the course of the day, and in most cases it ends up looking better and better, but in some it looks worse. So we'll see and I will report back.
LEFT: Aromaleigh (during bad face week even ;)
RIGHT: Initial BE application with lots of Warmth in application (so I look darker)

Click for full image

Sum up initial feelings:
I immediately like the texture more than the Ebay brand
I like the coverage, application went well
Color selection is great
Shimmery stuff isn't too overly shimmery
Should this wear well over the next few days, they will have a new customer in me!

Check 'em out at , and watch this space for detailed reports on how it goes this week with this brand! I am kinda excited all over again, and that is a good sign!

(PS If this works out, I think I will go to Sephora and get myself the brushes from Bare Escentuals. They felt good and did a good job of application with minerals make-up.)

Bare Minerals report...

by Monday, November 14, 2005
After a few weeks with Bare Escentuals (BE), I found that I was getting itchy and breaking out. It broke my heart because the soft finish, smooth and lightweight feel, and beautiful results were so welcome! But it was getting increasingly uncomfortable.

So I took a couple weeks off to let my face heal a little bit, and decided to try again without the Skin Rev-er Upper, to see if it was any part of the issue. This was this past weekend, and sadly, I found it was still a bit itchy.

I have been doing a lot of research on mineral cosmetics, because I really would love to find a way to make the switch to the mineral make-ups, but BE isn't going to work for me. Turns out that Bismuth Oxychloride is the culprit which makes some women break out, itch, and even get hives! So I did some research on the ingredient, and this is what I found:

"Bismuth is the by-product of lead and copper refining, as well as other metals to a smaller degree. Bismuth occurs very rarely in nature. It is on the periodic table of elements under the symbol Bi at atomic number 83. It is very heavy and chemically resembles arsenic and antimony. It has a whitish/iridescent hue and has a very high shine property to it. Of all the heavy metals it is the only non-toxic. Bimsuth is a carrier for fuel in nuclear reactors. Bismuth components are used in everything from detection work, to making acrylic fibers, to safety devices in fire detection and extinguishing items, soldering, magnets and medicine as well as cosmetics. Because it is a by-product of lead refining, bismuth oxychloride should be lead free when companies begin using it in their cosmetics.

Companies use this in their cosmetics because it is cheap to buy and is an inexpensive filler. It does have binding qualities, so the makeup will "stick" to your skin, so to speak. There are other products that are just as effective at adhesion, and are better for your skin. Because of its molecular make up, it is often viewed as shiny or pearlescent. It is often sold in these two varieties. This makes it highly refractive, which is something companies want. Refraction will camouflage fine lines, wrinkles and discolorations. If you use a brand with bismuth oxychloride you'll notice a shiny look after applying the makeup. Not like oiliness, but almost shimmery. That's the bismuth oxychloride.

It's a very heavy element, which makes it difficult for many people to wear. It has to be forced into the pores (hence the buffing technique) otherwise it is capable of sliding off the wearer's face. The heaviness can result in clogged pores or irritated skin. Bismuth oxychloride often feels silky and not rough when rubbed between the fingers. Mineral makeup companies that do not use it have a lighter feeling makeup that usually blends into the skin better and with less effort."

So bismuth oxychloride is what creates the softly glowing effect in BE cosmetics. This is dismaying to me, since I love this effect! It makes my skin look fresher and healthier. But some folks don't like that--Renee, if you don't want to have the sheen you experienced with some BE products, listen up, cuz this is what I learned.

Since then, two vendors have been recommended to me. One is Aromaleigh

This is a small business which specifically does NOT use Bismuth Oxychloride in their products, so they have a very matte finish. Luckily for me (I hope), they offer finishing powders which will give that glow back. So BE gives you glow, which you can tone down with Mineral Veil. Aromaleigh starts out with no sheen, and then you can add it if you want.

I have read lots of great reviews (very few on and a bunch on about the products. There appears to be a problem with the business side of things here and there though-shipmentsw delaying, customer service not being stellar. But few to no complaints about the product itself. And on the big plus side, they sell inexpensive sampler sizes of everything! So I have purchased some samples of various products in different shades and am eager to give it a try. I will let you know how that goes.

Now, in the meantime, I was also referred to a seller on Ebay.
This seller not only sells BE, but also a "private line" of mineral cosmetics specifically formulated without bismuth oxychloride. She sells samples, as well. I am curious if the "private brand" she sells is Aromaleigh. Certainly the breadth of color choices is quite similar! So many options.

Lastly, I found a site for Sheer Miracle. Their packaging and everything seems very similar to Bare Minerals. They prominently display a "no bismuth oxychloride" on the site. They sell sample kits for about $16. I am curious to try them, but am cautious due to the fact that I don't see the company listed on, who seems to list everybody who is anybody, and even some nobodies. :)

I really hope that I find a similar product that works for me. I am a minerals cosmetics convert, but can't wear it right now! WAH!

Bare Minerals Day 2

by Wednesday, November 02, 2005
So I just went and put on my Bare Minerals (I can't bring myself to abbreviate BM, because it means Burningman to me...), and thought I would report back.

Firstly, last night I wore my Bare Minerals to troupe rehearsal. I had been wearing the same application for about 5 hours when I arrived at rehearsal. We didn't sweat much, but I had my usual amount of light persperation on my brow. I checked in the mirror after and found that it was a smidge patchy around my brows and bridge of my nose (not a streak like with cream make-up, but not flawless...), and that the areas around my blemishes had dried a bit. I am trying to remember if I put on cover-up, and I think I did. So it may be the cover-up and not the Bare Minerals which looked a bit patchy/dry in those areas. I plan to wear my make-up to class tonight, sans any cover-up on the blemishes, and see how it comes out. Cheeks and forehead were otherwise just fine.

So today I just put on my Bare Minerals. I skipped the extra moisturizer I had yesterday, too, so that is another factor to consider. It just didn't make me feel any more or less hydrated. Just another layer of "stuff" on my face. So I only used the Skin Rev-er Upper, followed by my color-correcting Photo Finish from Smashbox (note: yesterday on the first application I used non color-correcting, and frankly, with this make-up, I don't need the color correcting! But I have a large jar of it to use up, while I only have a sample of the regular stuff...)

I am feeling less dewey today, tho I don't know why. I feel a bit more matte/powdery of a finish was achieved today. Perhaps I put on too much of the foundation... I did play more with the concealer brush today to work on those blemishes so I wouldn't use any cover-up. I really want to get the concealing bisque, but for now I am just using the foundation, and it seems to be working.

I used a sweeping "E" motion like one of the models in the video used with her Warmth. I find it gives me back that lightly tanned look I wasn't super fond of with the darker foundation. I prefer the more "blush" angle application which gives more definition to myh cheekbones. So I will revert to that tomorrow. I could see liking the E motion in summer...

Lastly was my Mineral Veil. This is what I *thought* was giving me the dewier complexion yesterday, but as I applied it, I wasn't getting that result. Looks like I have more to learn about amounts to apply and what various effects it will give me as a result.

So there you go, the start of day 2 with my Bare Minerals. I am probably sounding like a mockumentary advertisement at this point, but really it's just that when I was looking into getting this stuff, I wished there was a "play by play" like this for me to refer to, to get a better idea of how a brand-new customer experienced the learning curve with the make-up. So here you go, for you "me's" out there who wanna know.

I do have to say this. I have to stay away from Sephora. I am looking at all the great colors that Bare Minerals offers (including a great line of subtle Glimmers!), and am sooo tempted. But since Chris isn't getting paid right now, need to save money. *sigh* I did start a Christmas wish list online, though. >:)

Bare Minerals

by Tuesday, November 01, 2005
So I have been wanting to try Bare Minerals for a long time, and finally broke down and bought the started kit from Sephora. It took forever to ship here (didn't want to drive to Lynnwood or U District--probably more in gas than I paid in shipping these days...) it felt like, but it arrived today and I eagerly set to work.

I did this in my living room on the fly. Very low lighting, to boot, so results were uncertain until I went into the bathroom to check it out. I think it leaves me a little sunkissed (maybe too much...hard to tell how I feel just yet), but the coverage is pretty damn good. Completely evens my skin tone without washing out all details and making me ghostly, like some foundations tend to do. I definitely feel this stuff, though. Many people talk about how light it is, they don't know they are wearing it. Well, my cream foundations have always felt great to me. Bare Minerals feels a lot like when I used to use a pressed powder compact in high school--a little bit dry coated, even though it doesn't at all LOOK the same as the pressed powders. Though admittedly the finish *to the touch* (as in when I reach up and touch my face) feels amazingly smooth and nice. And the rub-off factor compared to cream foundation-with-powder or pressed powder is very low. I just now ran a tissue over my face to see how it fared, and I barely see anything on the tissue. I even did it a second time in a different location to make sure I got a fair sampling and nada on the tissue.

I took these photos in the same spot in the living room (so any ambient lighting was the same), with flash, close to the face. I took a few shots in both before and after, to make sure I could choose two photos which were the most similar in angle, expression, etc. There is no Photoshopping/editing of either pic

This is just after washing my face, scrubbing really well to make sure I had a completely clean base to work from. So my face is extra rosy from the warm water (I have very heat sensitive skin). My blemishes this month were particularly bad, so I was most eager to see what kind of coverage I would get on these ugly rough spots. As I said, I took with a flash in both photos to make sure I got maximum detail on pores, redness, etc. So this is a REALLY unflattering picture. Be gentle with me.

This is the after. I was afraid that maybe I got a blurrier shot of the after, but tooling around with it to check this theory, I discovered I just have a soft glow from the make-up, and it is not in fact blurry. I thought about sharpening the photo to prove this, but really wanted to have no editing involved in this comparison at all, so kept it raw.

You can clearly see that my redness and uneven tone is completely evened out by the make-up. The "warmth" added a darkness that I like, but am not sure I would want every day. It feels too...well, in Seattle, when you look "warm" in winter, it looks fake whatever you do. *grin* With practice, I may be able to "subtle it up" more, though, so who knows. The blemish coverage is about 80%. I could certainly put a dab of my usual cover-up to clear those up more. But considering how bad and plentiful the blemishes I had this month, this is damn good coverage for "just a powder".

Random note: Wow, my nose looks pointy in these pics.

Anyway...this was all done using the Bare Minerals starter kit in Light/Fairly Light. I am definitely the lighter of the two, though I plan to experiment with the darker color, with no Warmth step, to see what kind of results that gives me. I used the skin revver upper included as my only moisturizer base, and then put Smashbox Photo Finish on top of that (I use it with my Smashbox foundations, and read in a discussion thread that a lot of people like this combo with their Bare Minerals, so I trusted it was a good move. Seems so.). Then the foundation powder, followed by Warmth, followed by the final Mineral Veil step.

It was not as messy as I was told it would be, but maybe it's just because I haven't dropped a tin yet. *grin* I did feel it was more work than my regular foundation routine, but the results (other than the darker color from the warmth step) look far more like I am wearing nothing at all. Perhaps with practice, this won't seem as labor intensive. I am interested in what this will feel like to dance in, and how it will wear with sweat. I have read from posters in humid climates (like Florida), and they say the make-up stays put like nothing they have ever used, and helps to keep down shine, as well. We'll see...I plan to wear it to troupe tonight to see how it fares.

So to sum up:

~ Evens out redness and uneven tone
~ Looks like I have nothing on
~ Lets my skin glow without looking shiny
~ Reduces shine, but without making my skin matte, like most powders
~ Pretty easy to use, though I had been told it took "a lot of practice"
~ Doesn't smudge or rub off
~ Feels incredibly soft to the touch

~ Feels a little heavier than my cream foundation
~ Right now, feels like more work than my usual routine (more steps)
~ Expensive (and not available at my mall like my other make-up is)
~ Potential to be messy (during application--spills, "poufs", etc)
~ Doesn't seem to cover my worst blemishes as well as my cream foundations

I am gonna give this a shake this week. If it plays out as well, or better, as it did today, then I will buy some of the eye shadows and see if they are as lovely. I have also been on the hunt for make-up that will help clear up my adult acne-prone skin. So I will be watching that closely as well.

So there you have it. The most unflattering photo of me ever posted publicly, just to tell you what I think of Bare Minerals. So far, I would recommend it...

UPDATE: I was using the darker shade by accident. I took "Fairly Light" to mean "just about light" and "Light" to be the lightest. But it's more like "Fairer Light", because it is the lighter of the two. So I redid:

Taking into account that the flash in close proximity to my face is making the photos of my skin come out even lighter than it looks in person (and thus the other photo above doesn't quite show how dark I really look in person, and this photo makes me look paler), I have to say that the Light make-up application will likely work in summer or when I want to look relaly sun-kissed. And Fairly Light will be best for everyday, most natural looking wear.

I also just finished watching the video, which is really really detailed. I fully expected a "here is how you put the foundation on--now go for it! Bye!" Instead it had a very in depth demo, using models (women who have both used Bare Minerals 2-4 years themselves) of two different skin tones demonstrating how they apply their Bare Minerals. Each had slightly nuanced ways of doing it, so it showed a couple different approaches. Then Lori (creator/owner) would show them a way to punch their look up a little for nighttime.

During each segment they clearly show what product they are using, what brush, how, and why they are using each item. Then at the end of the segment, they show a list of the items used, if you want to jot them down. Yes, they are obviously trying to sell you stuff. But only in a few situations was I feeling like they used a product just for the sake of squeezing it in for possible sale (a couple brushes and a couple colors that seemed really unecessary and did little to affect the overall look). Other than that, I found it valuable to see what they used to achieve their look, and see them go through the entire process.

It ends with Lori leading a complete noob through the process--someone who had never tried it before. Less dramatic results, but still demonstrated the simplicity of the application and the ways it can work right from day one.

Still feeling I could recommend this product to my friends. We'll see once we see how it affects my skin quality over time. Though honestly, I read a LOT of reviews on this before finally opting to try it, and only in a very small handful of cases did anyone have issues (a mild itchy skin/skin rash type reaction), and in a couple of those instances, they traced it back to the Skin Rev-er Upper lotion that was used to prep the skin before use. In one of those cases, the gal stopped using that, but still used the Bare Minerals, and the problem ceased.

Check ou for a lot lot lot of reviews of the products to get a better idea of what I read before I decided to buy.

If you decided to try it, keep me posted!!


On this blog I share my personal posts about cooking and knitting, travel and other musings; while I will blog about dance-specific topics over on the Deep Roots Dance blog:

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